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Four Ways to Increase Earned Authority

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Positional Authority doesn't change. Borrowed Authority may have a limited lifespan. The remaining Authority - Earned Authority - is gained through a sustained history of delivering positive, visible results for customers that also benefit the business; and by proving to other executives the business value of acting in the customer's best interest. Here are four ways to earn Authority.

Own Customer Insight and Inject it into Strategic Discussions

The CCO's value is in interpreting data and devising strategy but not necessarily in owning customer data, as this can be a time-consuming distraction. CCOs must be the definitive Authority on customer needs, wants, and desires and accurately represent customers in strategic decisions; always in balance, of course, with business needs.

Build Relationships With Peers, Employees, Management, Customers, And Outside Influencers

By definition, Earned Authority results from the recognition of the value of the CCO's efforts. Most CCOs do not own all customer-facing resources and must lead by influencing relationships. These relationships help drive customer centricity throughout the organization and change the business landscape. 

Engage Employees

The CCO cannot afford to be the only customer champion. All employees must be actively engaged as part of a pervasive, customer-centric culture so as to ensure that customer needs are consistently and profitably met. Engagement can mean something as simple as employees understanding individual impact on customers or employees actively seeking to understand and deliver more for customers. How can the CCO best engage employees in the service of customers?

Demonstrate Results

CCOs need to demonstrate and publicize their results in order to earn greater Authority. Of particular importance is the correlation with revenue and profits. Oracle's CCO found that Oracle's most engaged customers generate 3x greater revenue than similar customers who are not as engaged in customer programs. Another CCO found that extremely loyal customers were five times more likely to repurchase, and that by moving 1% of their customers into this top loyalty box, the company generated an additional $33.3M in annual incremental revenue. A low-cost airline found that a one point increase in NPS score generates between $5M and $8M. These data are extremely powerful. They draw a clear line from CCO initiatives to increased revenue and demonstrate inarguable results.

Increasing Authority to solve customer issues, drive customer centricity, and thereby create sustainable business growth needs to be a core strategy of every CCO who doesn't wish to relegate the tenure of his/her role to chance.

*This is the final article in a three-part series excerpted from The Bingham Advisory: Powerful Influence on Customer Centricity, available for free download from the CCO Council website here.

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Categories: Chief Customer Officer

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